Gurgaon: The legendary Laura Davies, one of the all-time greats of women’s golf, will lead the strongest-ever field to have assembled in India, as the fifth edition of the Hero Women’s Indian Open tees off at the picturesque DLF Golf and Country Club on December 8.
Davies, a seven-time European Order of Merit winner, will be joined by the likes of Sophie Gustafson of Sweden, a four-time winner of the Money List, the new and hugely talented rookie Caroline Hedwall, who has already won three times this season, and the flamboyant Christina Kim of the United States.
The Hero Women’s Indian Open 2011, a co-sanctioned event between the Ladies European Tour, the Ladies Asian Golf Tour and the Women’s Golf Association to India, carries a prize purse of $300,000 and is now firmly established as one of the best-attended events in Asia at the award-winning DLF Golf and County club, which is hosting the event for the fifth time in succession.
In 2010, Davies arrived in India well in advance but her golf bag came in only hours before she teed off. Despite playing blind at the DLF Golf Course, she stunningly won the event in an exciting four-way play-off.
South African Lee-Ann Pace, the 2010 Money List winner, and two-time Indian Open winner, Phatlum Pornanong of Thailand, will also be back at this year’s edition.
Other prominent names teeing off will include, the recent Sanya Ladies Open champion, Australian Frances Bondad, the Lacoste Ladies Open de France champion Felicity Johnson, the Raiffeisenbank Prague Golf winner, Jade Schaffer of France, the Lalla Meryem Cup winner Zuzana Kamasova and Ashleigh Simon, winner at the Portugal Ladies Open.
Becky Brewerton and Trish Johnson will return to India for the first time in four years along with Gwladys Nocera from France, who won the LET’s EMAAR-MGF Indian Ladies Masters in Bangalore in 2007.
The Indian challenge will be led by Sharmila Nicollet, the current leader on the domestic Hero Women’s Professional Golf Tour, and the seasoned Smriti Mehra, who will relish the opportunity of rubbing shoulders with some of the very best in women’s golf. Smriti Mehra is the doyen of women’s professional golf in India who helped in establishing and popularizing women’s golf in India.
The Indian challenge will also include the likes of Nalini Singh (Siwach), Neha Tripathi and Saaniya Sharma among the 108 players.
The tournament was established by the Ladies Asian Golf Tour and Women’s Golf Association of India in 2007 and became tri-sanctioned with the Ladies European Tour in 2010, launching an exciting new chapter in the history of the event.
As the penultimate event on the LET’s 2011 schedule, the Hero Women’s Indian Open will be critical in deciding the players’ final Henderson Money List rankings, a week before the LET’s season-ending tournament, the Omega Dubai Ladies Masters in the U.A.E.